The 9-6x – will they, won’t they??

Continuing my thread on the 9-6x, there’s been a lot of speculation around the traps as to whether the model will be produced or not.  I’m going to try and tie it up here into one neat bundle.

It all started with a paragraph in Car and Driver magazine entitled "Swedish Seoul" (which I’m yet to find a link to).  The paragraph said the following:

"Saab’s 9-7x sport ute, built on the same platform as the chevrolet
trailblazer, is set to go on sale this month. the body-on-frame
mid-size 9-7x will be the only Saab SUV in showrooms for a couple of
years until the swedish automaker’s car-based unibody SUV, now dubbed
the 9-5x, shows up in 2007. Some time back, word had it that the
car-based sport ute would be called the 9-6x and would be based on
Subaru’s B9 Tribeca, but it seems the Japanese platform was dismissed
because it would have required too many modifications to adapt a diesel
engine necessary for Europe (the 9-7x will only be sold in the U.S.).
Therefore, Saab will build the 9-5x on the GM Theta platform that
underpins the Saturn Vue and Chevrolet Equinox and Pontiac’s upcoming
Torrent, due this fall.

"A four-cylinder turbo diesel engine will come from Italian maker VM
Motori for use in the Saab, Opel, and Vauxhall versions of the SUV,
although plans for importing the diesel to the States seem unlikely. Don’t be surprised if the 9-5x is built in a Daewoo plant in Korea".

Autocar then came out and stated that the project was close to collapse.  An indication of which is the failure to show a preview model at the New York Auto Show.  This seems like a thin link at best.  If the car’s not ready, then it’s not ready – and they’d be stupid to rush one in just for the sake of it.

On the other hand, it was reported just a few weeks ago that (GM Europe head honcho Carl-Peter)
Forster said GM will create a global Saab crossover vehicle.
Front-drive is no longer a core value for Saab. "But agile, predictable
handling definitively is," he said at the Geneva auto show.

"Unlike the Saab 9-2X and 9-7X, which were developed half-way into the
base models’ life cycles, the crossover Saab is a brand new
development," said a source, adding that it is at least three years

The Saab 9-6 comes first. A GM Europe source said: "closer to 18 months than two years."

We also have an article from Edmunds Inside Line, which also mentions the lack of a suitable diesel engine so that the car can be successfully marketed in Europe.  Whilst Subaru plan on taking the Tribeca to Europe in the next 12-18 months, they don’t yet have a diesel variant in place, but are working on diesel and hybrid options for release in 4-5 years time.

Added to that is my recent link to an article where Suuby will be calling their variant the B9X in the future, an abvious conflict with the 9-6x moniker.  Small point, but marketing these vehicles is a serious consideration.  Would Suuby have done that if the Saab was still a goer??

It’s almost impossible to draw a conclusion from all this.

The bad news is that it may be possible, though still unlikely in my opinion, that the 9-6x project has been canned.  This would be a big call, but GM have made them in the past (giving up $2 billion to get out of Fiat – big call).

The good news is that this hasn’t been confirmed yet by anyone that matters and that stories like the ones above are all speculation and rumour until that time.

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